Chat Topic: CompletePC Backup!
Date: Friday, June 23, 2006



Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Welcome to today’s chat with the Windows Core File Services Team on CompletePC Backup.  We will try to answer as many questions as we can today. Participants should type their questions, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” Those posts will go into a private queue, from which our experts will draft answers and repost questions in the upper window with their answers. (To confirm: if you selected the “Ask the experts” check box when you posted, you don’t need to resubmit.             

 

At this time, I’ll let the experts introduce themselves.

 

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Hi this is PaulT, I'm a developer working on Windows Backup.

 

Hi I am IvanPash, I am dev lead working on Windows backup.

 

Hi this is Varun, I am a tester working on Windows Backup.


Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
I'm Prabu, Program Manager for the backup engine of CompletePC backup. I also own the Windows Server Backup feature shipping with Longhorn. Looking forward to some great questions and suggestions.

Jegan [MSFT] (Expert):
I am Jegan, one of the Testers for CompletePCBackup and Windows Server Backup

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
I'm Dan Stevenson, lead PM for storage management in the Windows team.

I'm the guy who smashes hard drives on stage, if you've seen any of the comments on WinHEC and TechEd.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi, I'm Eduardo Laureano, Program Manager at the Core File Services team responsible for some of client backup related features. Fire away your questions regarding CompletePC and we'll answer to the best of our knowledge.


Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
me dev lead, backup engine for complete pc backup. Also work on windows server backup. looking fwd to good interaction/discussion/questions.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: When you do a CompletePC backup does the image work for just that PC or can that image be restored on another PC almost like imaging software?
A: Good question. It does work like other imaging software indeed and the images can be used for disaster recovery and be restored to another computer. The limitations on this are architecture related (x86 should be restore to x86 and not to ia64, for instance). Of course your new machine needs to have enough hard disk space to apply your image, a larger disk image can't be restore to a smaller disk.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Hi Everyone!  My name is Wendy and I just recently joined the Longhorn/Windows Vista team.  Previously I was part of the R2 and MSN 9.0 Beta Teams.  My job is to see that you BTs get what you need to have the best beta experience ever!  We’ve got lots of great things in the works for you BTs!



Sandeep Pathak[MSFT] (Expert):
Hi, I am developer for the CompletePC Backup/Restore and Windows Server Backup.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Are we able to use the Complete Backup/Restore with DVD's and CD's?  Or just with Hard drives.
A: Yes CompletePC supports backing up to DVDs. CDs are not support since they are too small and will require too much media swapping.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will Complete Backup allow us to extract individual files and/or folders or only full partitions?
A: For Windows Vista, only the entire volumes. We are looking at more granular restore in the future; you'll get file/folder restore in the server backup feature based on this same technology. Also note you can mount the backup images in Virtual PC or Virtual Server to copy files out.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Do you have to back up an entire physical hard disk, or can you select individual partitions to back up?
A: You can select individual volumes. However, the UI will always force you to select all your Critical Volumes in the backup. Critical volumes are those hosting some part of the OS. You can add/remove additional data volumes from the backup.


Sandeep Pathak[MSFT] (Expert):
Q: hey sandeep, weren't you at WinHEC?
A: I was not there at WinHEC. Probably you met some other Sandeep.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: As I understood the bad block from disks will be also retreived on restore. Before RTM will be able to get read of these bad blocks if the drive is a new one?
A: Great question. We do plan to address this by Vista RTM by rescanning the disk post-restore (only when bad clusters are found in the source disk).

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are there any plans to address the 'booting into XP erases Vista recovery points' and will this also have an impact on the shadow copy features of CompletePC backup?
A: This is a current known issue that would require backporting a lot of code to previous versions of Windows. Currently we don't have the bandwith to address this issue. Yes it does affect the CompletePC backup. When you attach a disk with CompletePC backups on it, and log to an older version of the OS, the older version of volsnap (the Volume Shadow Copy Service driver) will delete the shadow copies on that disk.

Abhinav [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Do back-ups contain any sort of recovery record that could be helpful to recover data from a corrupted back-up archive?
A: No

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How about BluRay? (I know Microsoft tends to like to downplay BluRay, so I insist on having it be supported ^_^)
A: Good question. We allow the backups to run but do not support it as a feature.

 

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Well, this didn't take long for you guys to be brilliant, today  :-0 Today’s first Best Question goes to Arcadi (who had to leave the chat already, unfortunately) for asking “As I understood the bad block from disks will be also retrieved on restore. Before RTM will be able to get read of these bad blocks if the drive is a new one?”



Jegan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If you have 4 operating sytems on 2 hard drives, is Vista capable of a system restore on the other operating systems?
A: CompletePCBackup is capable of backing up and restoring all volumes that are Mounted in Vista and formatted NTFS

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Can I lock down a CompletePC backup so that it's encrypted, and do the usual NTFS permissions apply? What if I have a BitLocker drive and I want to back that up - is the backup also encrypted?
A: The CompletePC backups cannot be encrypted on a file level (via EFS). The files are ACL such that only administrators have access to them.

If the drive being backed up is encrypted by BitLocker the backup is not going to automatically encrypted.


Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Backup only is available for disks. Restore for old tapes will it be available?
A: There will be a downloadable tool for restoring data from tape backups. You can use the prior OS restore app for restoring the entire system (e.g. XP, Windows Server 2003) from tape.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Let's say my notebook's drive is encrypted with BitLocker and I want to back it up. Can I expect my backups to be encrypted as well? As I understand it, it is a part of many companies' policies to have not only sensitive data encrypted, but the backups too
A: No the backups are not encrypted, however the volume sthat are in the VHD are encrypted. Therefore you cannot just mount the VHD and read the volume.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are there plans to allow booting of a backed up image in Virtual PC, or Virtual Server sometime in the future?
A: It is an interesting feature for the future, but we're not planning to support that right now. Also, note that file/folder restore via Virtual PC will be supported by RTM, although it doesn't work in Beta 2.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Q: Fly like an eagle.
A: Only with lots of Hydoxycut.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can you mount vhd's in explorer?
A: You need to use Virtual PC / Virtual Server. The CompletePC backup images are not right now mountable in VPC/VS, but will be by Vista RTM.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Any chance of tape being a supported media, some of us still rely on this media

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I have three different OS on my harddisk. It is possible to back up the other OSs as well or only Vista?
A: CompletePC backup is an image based backup. if you include all the volumes hosting the OS components of your other OS(s), they will also be backed up.


Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
for the tape question -- I replied too quickly. No, we will not be able to add it as a supported media.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Let's say my notebook's drive is encrypted with BitLocker and I want to back it up. Can I expect my backups to be encrypted as well? As I understand it, it is a part of many companies' policies to have not only sensitive data encrypted, but the backups too
A: I've answered in a different question. No the backups are not encrypted, however the volume sthat are in the VHD are encrypted. Therefore you cannot just mount the VHD and read the volume.


Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In which SKUs will CompletPC Backup be included?
A: Business SKUs and Ultimate

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
As a reminder, we will have a copy of the transcript on Connect this afternoon for anyone who cannot attend the ful chat today.

Jegan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I have noticed that WinRE gives full NTFS access to non encrypted volumes, unlike XP recovery console which required an admin password, what was the reasoning behind allowing this feature?
A: WinRE installed on Disk will ask you for the Local Admin Password. I guess the documentation for it is not yet very complete at this point / might not have reached you.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Eduardo L - To expand on the previous question, will the SID information carry over or will the image be treated as a new PC and installation codes re-entered? If not the latter, is there an option to wipe out SID information to force this?
A: If the RAID array is implemented in hardware CompletePC backup does not know it is an array. It just sees a volume, which it will backup and can restore to any disk with big enough size.

If the RAID is implemented in software by the Windows Dymanic Disk Manager then the restore process will recreate the RAID array before restoring the image.


Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: May I backup and restore via WSS and DPM2006?
A: Our team is not aware of the strategies and plans for DPM2006 to support backing up Vista machines. We suggest you post this question to their newsgroup. Good question though.


Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Windows Core File Services Team on CompletePC Backup.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.”

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I have noticed that WinRE gives full NTFS access to non encrypted volumes, unlike XP recovery console which required an admin password, what was the reasoning behind allowing this feature?
A: I suggest you follow up with this question on the newsgroup; we don't have the WinRE owners on the chat today. I do know that some authentication happens depending on how you enter WinRE (CD vs. partition).

Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does backup bypass device driver filters that are installed over the logical drive being backed up?
A: volume Backup is done block level. hence, file system filters are bypassed.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is there a command line version of CompletePC backup available? If so is it accessible both through Vista and WinRE, and is there any documentation currently available?
A: Yes there is, the tool is called wbadmin. It is available in regular Windows and Windows RE. It contains inline help, and by server RTM additional KB articles and white papers should be available.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will CompletePC be tapped by services such as OneCare? In addition, is it possible for an application to take advantage of CompletePC via some sort of API and specify which directories/volumes used by the applcation should be backed up?
A: Any application can use the command-line interface, wbadmin.exe. There are no other APIs. I can't speak for OneCare's plans, but you can definitely file a request via the beta program to register your interest.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Eduardo L - To expand on the previous question, will the SID information carry over or will the image be treated as a new PC and installation codes re-entered? If not the latter, is there an option to wipe out SID information to force this?
A: After restore all local account SIDs are going to be preserved.

May be Sysprep is what you are looking for?


Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I understand that CompletePC is only in Business and Ultimate.  What about VSS?
A: VSS is a service available in all SKUs. For instance, it is used by System Restore which is present in all SKUs including Starter

Jegan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can I schedule a CompletePC backup to be accomplished automatically and in a completely unattended fashion?
A: By creating a scheduled task for invoking wbadmin.exe with the right parameters you should be able to do that

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: re: #39 Why only the business and Ultimate SKUs? Seems to me the home user would be a prime candidate.
A: Yes, those users will also like this feature. It was a business decision based on the market and overall SKU mix.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How does CompletePC compare to Ghost?
A: Favorably, we hope :)

 

It has the same general concept -- image backup -- and we think our block-level engine is very fast and effective, especially at doing incrementals. We would love to get feedback on features that you would like to have us add, from Ghost or elsewhere.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does CompletePC support incremental backups along with full backups?
A: Depends. Incremental backups can occur only with backups stored onto Disks. Not to DVDs or network shares.

Also, for incrementals you need to have "Shadow Copies" turned on the volumes which are being backed up. Do you need more information?

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it possible to guard the backup with a password, so no one else is able to use my backup without knowing the password?
A: No, we don't support that. When the BitLocker functionality is available for external disks, we will look at encrypting backup disks using BitLocker.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: If I backup a PC that has a RAID array, then break the array, will the restore be successful and will the OS boot without INACCESIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE?
A: If the RAID array is implement in hardware CompletePC backup cannot see the disks behind the controller, it sees only 1 disks. In such case you will have to recreate the array manually before restoring.

If the RAID array is implemented in software by Windows Dynamic Disk manager, then CompletePC is going to capture the array configuration during backup and recreate it during restore.


Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will this be something that the average user would use?  It sounds very much like a network or server only benefit.
A: CompletePC was desgined to be very simple to use so most users can create images of their environments that can be restored within a couple clicks. You wouldn't need a server environment or even network setup to take advantage of this feature. In addition to this we also desgined the data backup solution, File Backup and File Restore. Hope this answers your question

Jegan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it scriptable thru wbadmin?
A: Yes, wbadmin is the command line for CompletePCBackup. And you can definitely script a backup to disk and recovery using wbadmin.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Any chance of tape being a supported media, some of us still rely on this media
A: sorry, but we are not able to support tape -- the decision was made at a pretty fundamental level in the technology, and it won't work for either the file or CompletePC backup applications.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How can you activate sysem restore in Longhorn Enterprise Beta 2?
A: Longhorn Server does not have a "System Restore" feature.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is the Vista backup format is the VHD format also used by VS2005? If so does it support undo disks?
A: It is VHD, and they are read-only in nature. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by undo disks?

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Windows Core File Services Team on CompletePC Backup.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.”

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I asked one, but, it did not get answered as yet.
A: Got you answer yet? :-D

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Sideways on Q - but will the backup system be able to backup attached devices, i.e. WM5.0 machines?
A: Can you please repeat your question with the additional information what is "attached devices" and "WM5.0 machines"?

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will CompletePC allow backup and restore from a network share?
A: Not yet, perhaps in the server timeframe.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Next Gen ACL : I wonder if a future version of Windows will allow putting access rule on file based on other things that DACL/ACE like IP source address, client side certificate, zone like in IE, cryptographic evidence (signed application) .. ?
A: That's a good idea, but there are some technical, logistical, and legal issues that prevent us from doing that right now.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Q: Next Gen ACL : I wonder if a future version of Windows will allow putting access rule on file based on other things that DACL/ACE like IP source address, client side certificate, zone like in IE, cryptographic evidence (signed application) .. ?
A: Unfortunately, this is not related to today's chat topic.  However, this is a great question to ask in the NGs and get some assistance from the product groups and/or your fellow BTs!

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
wrong question, right answer -- will repost

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will CompletePC Backup be considered in the future as a separate download (or purchase) for home users then (in Re Q 45)
A: That's a good idea, but there are some technical, logistical, and legal issues that prevent us from doing that right now.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it possible to implement CompletePC over a company network via a Group Policy Object (or some other domain-initiated means), or must it be schedueled independently?
A: Good Question. You can disable it using a Group Policy Object but not schedule it using Group Policy.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In one of the answers, you said that we can mount the backups to Virtual PC/Virtual Servers.  So, could we use CompletePCBackup to create images of a drive for use in VPC/VS? (Realizing that we'd have to sysprep the images before they would be usable)
A: That would not be supported. The backup images can be mounted, but not booted by VPC/VS. The primary goal is to give you a way to access the backup image outside of the standard restore process, but not to provide a full-on physical-to-virtual migration application. Maybe in the future...

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: To summerize, it would be possible to use Complete PC Backup to backup my Windows XP partition, so I could test upgrades to Windows Vista and restore Windows XP afterwards?
A: Not sure if I understand the question correctly. I believe you are interested in having a backup to go back to your XP incase upgrading to Vista does not work out well. However, unless you install Vista, you can't use CompletePC.

 

As answered before, you can use CompletePC to take a complete backup of all the hard disks/volumes and restore it as it was at the time of backup.


Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: There will be a lot of prebuilt machines come out designed for the home user. Will the buyer who becomes aware of CompletePC be able to buy it and add it to his/her system?
A: Home Basic and Premium users will be able to do an "Anytime Upgrade" to Home Ultimate, for a small fee, of course :)

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: re [11]: Say I have a device driver filter sitting over a disk device that reads\writes encrypted data to the disk at block level but gives windows unencrypted data ... If I back up this drive, would it back up encrypted or unencrypted data?
A: If the encryption driver sits on top of the volume (or disk) driver, but below the volsnap.sys driver, CompletePC should be able to backup the disk. However this has been tested only with the BitLocker driver.

Upon restore of such backup, the encryption will not be restored. The disk will have to be re-encrypted by the user after booting back in the restore machine.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can any user run CompletePC backup from within Vista, or does it require an admin account or admin credentials?
A: It does require admin credentials, as the process needs to access all the files across your file system.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can CompletePC backup be run from safe mode?
A: No it doesn't. One of the main services it relies on, Volume Shadow Copy Service, doesn't run from there

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Any chance of a recovery feature being implemented to rollback a Vista install over XP (not upgrade), since it is really just a matter of renaming of files and folders  - ie Windows.old?
A: That would require you taking the backup in XP, and then restoring it. You can use the backup utility (ntbackup) in XP to do that, and then you just need the XP install CD and the ASR floppy disk (with system configuration info, created at backup time). This is the same way you backup and restore an XP system in any situation.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If we mount on a Vitual machine can we select the files we want?
A: Yes, that's the plan. It will be supported by RTM.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Does this work with raid5, spanned disk, etc. as implemented in software by Windows Disk Management?
A: Yes, CompletePC is able to capture the configuration of the dynamic disk pack during backup and recreate it during restore. This applies only for software RAID implement by the Windows Dynamic Disk manager.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Still not quite what I was looking for. In other words, using CompletePC, will the computer name and user information be stored in the image (almost like if you were running the repackage mode in sysprep)?
A: The computer name is stored but no user information is not stored in the image.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
A: There will be a "System State Restore" option that lets you restore your system without touching your other data.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Maybe this is wishful thinking, but would you guys be able to look into the possibility of allowing business and enterprise users to run CompletePC off the Vista installation DVD while in the Windows Preinstallation Environment? (this is somewhat in re#65)
A: I think the scenario you're asking for is taking a CompletePC backup without booting into Windows. The problem is there is a lot of interaction between the backup app and the running Windows OS in order to capture the right system state (and ensure it's in a restorable state), so backup has to run in the live OS.

Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will CompletePC have any issues backing up and restoring to a set of dynamic disks? I know I've had issues with other software backing up from and to dynamic disks, such as DPM. That's why I asked.
A: All dynamic disks (full pack) on a system can be backed up using complete pc backup & restored on a machine. complete pc backup can not be done to a dynamic disk.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are the images created in CompletePC backup compressed when they are backed up?
A: They are compressed when the target is a DVD/CD, but not to hard disks. And the compression rate will be based on the type of data being backed up.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If in the middle of a multi-part imaging CPC 'fails' due to bad media, will the program allow replacement of the media and continue from the start of that media (eg the faield DVD) or will the entire image need to be redone?
A: When backups are running to DVDs, CompletePC will prompt for a new media to be inserted and rewrite only that data which was written to the faulty DVD. It will not restart the entire backup operation.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: IN reponse to 49 - I was trying to find out functionality.  Ghost runs at startup, so does not recognize USB devices, so cannot store / image to.  WIll completePC run in Vista, or during startup?
A: CompletePC backup runs in regular Windows -- you launch the wizard to create a backup image.

 

Restore (bare metal restore) runs from the Windows Recovery Environment, sort of an offline/recovery mode.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re:Q[65] Well, I could have two partitions, one with XP and one with Vista. If I understand your answer (and Complete PC Backup) correctly, I could indeed backup the XP partition, upgrade it to Vista and restore XP again from the Vista on the 2nd partition
A: Correct :)

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In reference or #56 - If you disable UAP will Complete Backup work or does UAP need to be turned on?
A: Well, party line here in Redmond is you shouldn't disable UAP. But, even if you do, you can still do a backup. You need to be Administrator or a member of the Administrators group to run a CompletePC Backup, and you just need access to the machine and the Windows Recovery Environment to do the restore.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Does CPC include any kind of DRM?  If a user backs up a media volume or media files, for example, does DRM information follow?
A: CompletePC itself does not have DRM. However it will backup any DRM protected files on the selected volumes. It will also pick the Windows DRM database. If the restore is done on a different machine, the DRM implementation may require additional steps to be able to play the DRM protected files.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will system resore be implemented into Longhorn Server in the future?
A: There will be a "System State Restore" option to rollback your system data but not touch other data.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: "After restore all local account SIDs are going to be preserved. May be Sysprep is what you are looking for?" - If I run Sysprep, is there a way to get into CompletePC to image the PC before the PC fully boots? Maybe a  command prompt tool to run in Safe M
A: No, CompletePC and Sysprep are 2 separate features.

As for SafeMode, CompletePC cannot work in it, neither the UI nor the command line interface.

Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I run Sysprep, is there a way to get into CompletePC to image the PC before the PC fully boots? Maybe a command prompt tool to run in Safe Mode?
A: complete pc backup is not supported in safe mode.



Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In reference to number 59, will you ever be able to schedule using a group policy?
A: Currently we're looking a lot of enterprise scenarios where CompletePC would add benefit. At that time we might as well consider adding this GP, but no concrete plans yet.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can CompletePC backup be run from safe mode?
A: No it doesn't. One of the main services it relies on, Volume Shadow Copy Service, doesn't run from there

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: ..will the backup system be able to backup attached devices, i.e. WM5.0 machines? Clarification, attached deviecs such as Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC machines, and or attached music players like Apple iPods, that is devices linked via USB/Firewire
A: No. More precisely CompletePC can backup only NTFS formatted disks. It is not aware what kind of a device implements the disk.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can you run CompletePC on a remote PC while that PC is in some state other than booted up? Again, in reference to running sysprep and distributing this image to 20 PCs at a time. I'd love to start using Windows only instead of an imaging software.
A: Usually, I have to tell folks that ImageX and the WIM format are not suitable for backup (those are the new imaging/deployment technologies in Vista). In this case, I'd have to say that CompletePC is not very suitable for a deployment scenario, since you'd have to do lots of sysprep-type stuff. You should definitely check out ImageX and WIM for your scenario.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Doh, ignore that last stupid post from me :-(

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I want Vista to be restored (only the system without any other data), how big will the image be? And is it faster to install a fresh Vista or to use the image?
A: We backup the entire disk, not just your system files. The restore size is based on the actual data used on the source disk. It is faster (often much faster) to restore at the block level than to copy the same files over file-by-file (at the file level). System Restore will let you roll back just system state (from a shadow copy) if that's what you're looking for.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In Re Q 50, any information that you can provide us (links to technet or whitepapers, etc) would be appreciated.
A: We are working on the documentation for this particular topic. We shall give an update in the newsgroup once it's ready.


Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Could I image a a dynamic disk and restore to a basic vol
A: Yes if you check the check box for "Recreate disks" (first check box on the final window). Of course all your basic volumes would be lost then. Note: the dynamic disks have to recreated.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Is CPC backup / restore linked to AV software to allow scanning & cleaning prior to store / restore?
A: No, CompletePC does not have way to invoke the AV software installed on the machine. It is certainly highly recommended to scan your computer before you do the backup, as well as after the restore. Please also note that at the time of restore your AV vendor may have new definitions, so I would recommend downloading them before scanning.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is CPC backup / restore linked to AV software to allow scanning & cleaning prior to store / restore?
A: Not directly, no. AV software can scan before the backup and after the restore, but since we format prior to restore, and the restore happens from Windows RE, there is no way for AV software to get involved.

Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I have run CompletePC restore quite a few times and only found a few minor bugs, are there any specific scenarios which you would like BT's to test more?
A: Thanks very much for testing/trying out. Look fwd to your minor bugs as beta feedback. Looking for complete pc backup and restore of machines with various hw configurations to external usb disk, variety of backup targets.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I'll piggyback Patrick's question..what about USB/Firewire flash/hard disks?
A: USB/Firewire Hard disks -- Yes. Flash - No

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: #52  No.  Is this a feature of the Vista programs that average users would be able to take advantage of, or is this mostly for Network and server backups?  As a teacher and computer support, this is something I would like to be clear on.
A: This feature is available to all Vista users who have the Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions (these are somewhat analogous to the XP Pro edition). It does not require a server or a server administrator -- a regular reasonably savvy user should have no trouble using this feature.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: What will CompletePC do during the imaging process if one of the files on the drive is locked from read and write access by a third party application for some other purpose?(for example: I'm editing a video and the video files are locked.What will CPC do?)
A: CompletePC creates a VSS shadow copy of the disks selected to be backed up. Then it reads at block level from it. So it should not be affected by files opened on the live volume.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will there be a feature focus on Complete PC? And I'm hoping there hasn't been already. :D
A: That's what this is i guess.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: At this point I think the group (especially me) has made a point to ask about CompletePC working in Safe Mode or with SysPrep. One of the new features in Vista is to run apps without the PC booted up. Will CompletePC ever get to this point in a future rele
A: It doesn't work in SafeMode right now due to dependences on the backup infrastructure (VSS). We have to figure out how to address this, but also balance with the idea that if you're in SafeMode, you may want to first fix your OS before making a backup. System Restore is a good solution in that case. We are looking at this for the future, but there are no concrete plans.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re #50 - Yes, more information please.
A: We are working on the documentation for this particular topic and will update the newsgroup once it's done. CompletePC uses VSS at the back end for taking a backup. For this it creates a shadow copy. If this shadow copy exists on the volume during the second backup and if the backup is stored on the same hard disk partition, CPC will do a incremental backup. Having shadow copies on volumes can potentially cause I/O perf issues on that particular volume due to which CPC will delete the shadow copy after the backup completes. However if there are shadow copies already existing on the volume before the backup started, we will leave behind the shadow copy aftre the backup. This will help to get an incremental done the next time.

 

If this is not clear, please wait for the documentation to come out.


Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Do we hve any average compression to DVD figures, that is a 32Gb C drive goes to howa many DVDs?
A: Its very highly data dependent. A lot of text files allow more compression.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Will CompletePC Backup support creating an image from a RAID array, and then restoring to a non Array disk and vice versa?
A: If the RAID array is implemented in hardware, CompletePC does not see the array just a single disk. It can restore it to any other disk big enough to fit.

If the RAID array is implemented by the Windows Dynamic Disk manager, CompletePC captures the array configuration during backup and recreates it during restore.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re 85- Nah . . . A feature focus gives us a list of things to go through. IOW, put it through its paces.
A: We're not sure we understand your question. THis week is a Feature Focus for CompletePC Backup. Are you proposing another feature focus for another technology?

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Does the CPC image include the program(s) to rebuild the system (assume hard disk fails)?
A: You will need to boot in WinRE disk or in the Windows Setup media to run from it the CompletePC restore UI.

The image created contains just the data from the disks selected for backup.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If you have CompletePC backing up to a network location, will it automatically overwrite the old backup each time the scheduling starts? As in no prompts to the users, etc.
A: Well, first, we don't support backup to network shared folders in Vista. But yes, the way it's implemented for Longhorn Server Backup does overwrite the VHD each time. We can think about incremental backup/restore and preserving the older versions for a future client release.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: #91: he thought you meant the chat was the Feature Focus. I think you answered his question by saying that the CPC FF is going on all this week
A: Correct. We kick off a Feature Focus with a LiveMeeting, answer questions throughout the week in the newsgruop, and then wrap up with a chat to answer remaining questions.

Abhinav [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does backup bypass device driver filters that are installed over the logical drive being backed up?
A: No. We talk to the volume shadow copy which is a file system filter driver. So if the device sriver is below it then we wont bypass it

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can a backup of a RAIDed volume (soft-WDDM) be mounted under vpc? (are multiple VHDs created?)
A: The backup is at the volume level; the RAID structures live at the disk level. So if you mount the VHD, it will look like a basic volume. It's only during the bare metal restore process that we re-create the dynamic disk layout.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Joined late - so forgive me if this was addressed already - Does it do a differential if I have already backed it up once?
A: Yes, on the 2nd backup CompletePC will pick only the changed blocks, as far as you are backing up to a hard disk.

If the backup is on DVDs, then every block will be backed up again.



Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does a partition you are going to restore onto have to be preformatted as NTFS before restoring?
A: No. We recreate the partition layout (if necessary or if you ask us to via the restore UI), and then we lay out the blocks on the disk. The blocks actually contain all the NTFS structures, so technically we are completely unaware of the file system reflected in the backup.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If we have a fast enough connection: would we be able to store backups on a remote (as in over the internet) PC? such as via an FTP for example? I'm also assuming that if FTP backups are supported, we can expect "resume" functionality?
A: No, currently  we don't allow backing up directly from CompletePC Backup to a network share. We are definitely considering it for future.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does the CPC image include the program(s) to rebuild the system (assume hard disk fails)?
A: That is THE value proposition of CPC. the recovery is done from inside WinRE. The way it works is...

Day 1 : You take a CPC backup of your system.

Day 10 morning: Your Hard disk crashes.

Day 10 afternoon: You get a new hard disk which is equal or greater than the original hard disk which crashed.

You will now launch CompletePC recovery from inside WinRE and restore your computer using the backup created on Day1.


Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can CompletePC BU to re-writable DVD?
A: Yes, i have done that multiple times.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can CompletePC BU to re-writable DVD?
A: Yes, DVD +/- R, RW, etc. are all supported and tested. Note that some DVD devices are not Vista-compliant, and we and the storage device teams are working through issues as they come in.

Jegan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can you restore a FAT image to NTFS?
A: CompletePCBackup doesnot backup FAT volumes

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: #86 - Expansion - Not necessarily because the system is corrupt, but moreless because we want to image the system before we are forced to configure it from sysprep. Also, what if we want to backup the data but can't boot in normal mode?
A: CompletePC is targetted at backing up the system. You can do it before Sysprep.

But the Sysprep process itself should allow you to get everything you need to deploy the image on another machine.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If we have a fast enough connection: would we be able to store backups on a remote (as in over the internet) PC? such as via an FTP for example? I'm also assuming that if FTP backups are supported, we can expect "resume" functionality?
A: No, currently  we don't allow backing up directly from CompletePC Backup to a network share. We are definitely considering it for future.


Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: [97] followup. Does that mean we can restore a software-raid (WDDM) backup to a single volume if we choose? (Tell it to ignore the RAID/disk info)
A: you can, but not via the UI -- via the command line, you can tell the CompletePC backup engine to restore a given volume image to a specific volume. If you use the full restore UI (to do a bare metal restore), we will try to create the disk layout and dynamic disk pack to be the same as it was at backup time.

Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: REf 87 assume core OS install and apps only - no user data.
A: Do not have the data handy with me. but backup to dvd is compressed and will fit in the minium media possible.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: When doing an incremental is the entire volume scanned for changed blocks or are they saved by the driver?
A: The list of the changed blocks between the backups is generated by looking at the shadow copies. So, no the entire volume will not be scanned if you still have the shadow copy used for the previous backup.


Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re: 104 - does that mean if I have XP_fat32 on one partition, and Vista on another, then CPC will BU the Vista and leave the XP alone?
A: Yes, that is true. We will only back up the NTFS volume. However, our backup will contain the complete disk layout information needed to restore the disk configuration, so as to ensure the system can boot. That means that if you do a full "repartitioning" restore, you will lose the XP partition. But if you choose not to repartition during restore, then only the NTFS partition will be restored. This choice is made using a checkbox in the restore UI in Windows RE.

Sushil Baid [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: [94]- Could we backup to a mapped drive
A: No. The command line (wbadmin.exe) expects the unc path for the network share.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: [94]- Could we backup to a mapped drive
A: In Vista CompletePC does not support backing up to a network share, being mapped to a drive letter or not.

In the server backup it may be supported.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Second Best Question goes to ArtFudd for asking “Can you restore a FAT image to NTFS?  Does that mean if I have XP_fat32 on one partition, and Vista on another, then CPC will BU the Vista and leave the XP alone?”  Congrats, Art!  Please email me at LHBeta@microsoft.com <mailto:LHBeta@microsoft.com> with your full mailing address, including phone number and shirt size.


Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
We will need to wrap up this chat in about 15 minutes. Please post any other questions (select the “Ask the experts” check box) that you would like us to answer. Thanks!

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q from Gary: I'll try again. Must the partition size of the target equal the size of image that was backed up? Working for a disc manufacturor, I need to test discs of varying sizes. It would be nice have one image that can be restored to many sizes of discs.

 

A: The restore disk size (physical disk device) must be equal to or greater than the original disk, if you're doing a repartitioning restore. Otherwise, the volume just has to be the same or greater size.

Eduardo L [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: When the image is split across multiple DVDs is there a naming convention used for the files so that a user can tell which DVD is which without having to insert and reinsert to find the next one ? - you just know some people will forget to label them ;)
A: By files i assume you mean "DVD". The naming convention is "machine-name time #". The label that CompletePC backup gives is just a suggestion. Its not attached with the volume that is created on the DVD. In your case you should format the DVD from a command line first in which case the format utility would ask for a label.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: When the image is split across multiple DVDs is there a naming convention used for the files so that a user can tell which DVD is which without having to insert and reinsert to find the next one ? - you just know some people will forget to label them ;)
A: Currently we rely on the user labelling the DVD. Your suggestion is a valid one we will try to accomodate a solution in future releases.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Third Best Question goes to JRFree for asking “Is there a way to verify the integrity of a backup image before attempting a restore - in case the drive it is stored on has developed bad sectors since the image was saved?”  Congrats, JR!  Please email me at LHBeta@microsoft.com <mailto:LHBeta@microsoft.com> with your full mailing address, including phone number and shirt size.

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How does CompletePC Backup fit into Data Protection Manager - totally different areas? Or will some restore technique go to DPM, too?
A: We are not the right team to be answering this question. I suggest you post this question to the DPM newsgroup. However, both being block level backup solutions, there are areas of overlap.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is there a way to verify the integrity of a backup image before attempting a restore - in case the drive it is stored on has developed bad sectors since the image was saved?
A: Good question -- with many aspects. The short answer is no -- but you can run chkdsk /r on the backup disk to see if it has errors.

 

Note that we faithfully capture the bad cluster information from the backup disk into the backup image, and right now, we restore it as well. This will be fixed at RTM, when we will zero out the bad cluster map and rescan the disk.

 

Also note that we verify optical (DVD) disks when doing the backup, in case of a scratch or some other error.

Abhinav [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it possible to browse the image for single file restore? What about restoring a particular windows service, COM components, and other items that aren't specifically files?
A: yes one can browse for a file/folder and restore it. But not an application.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
Q: When CompletePC backs up the entire PC and you choose the System State option, will all settings include precise updates, service packs, installed options, installed services, windows service state, scheduled tasks, etc be imaged for restore?
A: CompletePC always includes the system volume and thus the system state. Upon restore everything will be back exactly as it was during backup.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How does CompletePC backup compress images so well to save space on the destination where the image will be stored?
A: Magic. :) You can check out the slideshow from earlier this week for the animation of how we effeciently store incremental block-level backups. In a nutshell, we use a shadow copy on the target disk to capture changes from day to day at the block level.

CompletePC Team [MS] (Expert):
We are signing off. It was a great chat. See you in the news groups.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can two images be compared to determine differences? Can images split between DVDs be merged to fit into one file?
A: Not with our tools, although a third-party VHD diff tool might do that (I don't know of any right now). We merge the split VHDs during restore; there's no other way of doing that that we provide.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Thanks for the chat everyone! 

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can a backup run in the background while the user is still working, or will this take up a lot of system resources?
A: The backup process runs with the usual priority as any other program. We do not control or throttle the amount of CPU or memory it can use.

However you can continue running your applications, work on the documents etc as we are using VSS.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
I will get the transcript up on Connect shortly!

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Great question for the NG, Bryant

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Great question for the NG, Bryant

Prabu A [MSFT] (Expert):
Thank you all for the great questions.